LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to John Rickman, 23 December 1803

Vol. I Contents
Early Life: I
Early Life: II
Early Life: III
Early Life: IV
Early Life: V
Early Life: VI
Early Life: VII
Early Life: VIII
Early Life: IX
Early Life: X
Early Life: XI
Early Life: XII
Early Life: XIII
Early Life: XIV
Early Life: XV
Early Life: XVI
Early Life: XVII
Ch. I. 1791-93
Ch. II. 1794
Ch. III. 1794-95
Ch. IV. 1796
Ch. V. 1797
Vol. II Contents
Ch. VI. 1799-1800
Ch. VII. 1800-1801
Ch. VIII. 1801
Ch. IX. 1802-03
Ch. X. 1804
Ch. XI. 1804-1805
Vol. III Contents
Ch. XII. 1806
Ch. XIII. 1807
Ch. XIV. 1808
Ch. XV. 1809
Ch. XVI. 1810-1811
Ch. XVII. 1812
Vol. IV Contents
Ch. XVIII. 1813
Ch. XIX. 1814-1815
Ch. XX. 1815-1816
Ch. XXI. 1816
Ch. XXII. 1817
Ch. XXIII. 1818
Ch. XXIV. 1818-1819
Vol. IV Appendix
Vol. V Contents
Ch. XXV. 1820-1821
Ch. XXVI. 1821
Ch. XXVII. 1822-1823
Ch. XXVIII. 1824-1825
Ch. XXIX. 1825-1826
Ch. XXX. 1826-1827
Ch. XXXI. 1827-1828
Vol. V Appendix
Vol. VI Contents
Ch. XXXII. 1829
Ch. XXXIII. 1830
Ch. XXXIV. 1830-1831
Ch. XXXV. 1832-1834
Ch. XXXVI. 1834-1836
Ch. XXXVII. 1836-1837
Ch. XXXVIII. 1837-1843
Vol. VI Appendix
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“Dec. 23. 1803
“Dear Rickman,

“. . . . . I am about a curious review of the Mission at Otaheite. Capt. Burney will find his friends rather roughly handled, for I look upon them as the most degraded of the human species. . . . . They have induced me to think it probable that the Spaniards did less evil in Hispaniola than we suppose. Coleridge’s scheme to mend them is, by extirpating the bread-fruit from their island, and making them live by the sweat of their brows. It always grieves me when I think you are no friend to colonisation: my hopes fly farther than yours; I want English knowledge and the English language diffused to the east, and west, and the south.

“Can you get for me the evidence upon the Slave Trade as printed for the House of Commons? I want to collect all materials for speculating upon the negroes. That they are a fallen people is certain, because, being savages, they have among them the forms of civilisation. It is remarkable that, in all our discoveries, we have never discovered any people in a state of progression, except the Mexicans and Peruvians. That the Otaheiteans are a degraded race, is proved by their mythology, which is physical allegory—ergo, the work of people who thought of physics. I am very desirous to know whether the negro priests and
jugglers be a caste; or if any man may enter into the fraternity; and if they have a sacred language. We must continue to grope in darkness about early history, till some strong-headed man shall read the hieroglyphics for us. Much might yet be done by comparison of languages: some hundred words of the most common objects—sun, moon, and stars, the parts of the body, the personal pronouns, the auxiliary verbs, &c.,—if these were collected, as occasion could be found, from every different tribe, such languages as have been different we should certainly be able to trace to their source. In New Holland, language is said to be confluent; every tribe, and almost family, having its own: but that island is an odd place—coral above water, and coal; new birds, beasts, and plants; and such a breed of savages! It looks like a new country, if one could tell where the animals came from.

“Do you know that the Dodo is actually extinct, having been, beyond doubt, too stupid to take care of himself. . . . . There is no hope of recovering the species, unless you could get your friend —— to sit upon a gander’s egg. God bless you.

R. S.”